Timmins is looking at their options when it comes to a senior tax credit. If approved by city council, it will come into effect in 2017. Seniors who qualify can apply for up to $300 off their property taxes each year. Mayor Steve Black is spearheading the initiative, and says they are following the model currently in place in Sudbury.
He says there will be some requirements to be eligible for the program. That will include those who are on the guaranteed income supplement from the federal government, those who are over the age of 65, and those who own and live in their home.
Black says the age friendly strategy help to spark the program. He says city council understands a lot of the discussion in the community, and what the tax impact has been on seniors in the last few years. He says they are trying to help those who are on the low income scale to stay in their home. The mayor also notes that council gets how the downloading of costs from the province to the city means a spike in property taxes for residents. He says it has shifted a lot of the burden from high income earners to seniors on fixed incomes.
There aren’t any numbers available yet on how much this will actually cost the city, as it will depend on how many seniors qualified for the guaranteed income supplement in the city, and how many apply for the program. However, Black does point out that essentially the same program is costing Sudbury around $200,000. Since Timmins is about the quarter of the size of Sudbury, he hopes the cost will about a quarter of the cost. That works out to be around $50,000.
A bylaw will come back to the council table for a vote at a later date.